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Putting Understanding by Design into Practice Northern Ohio Professional Development February 7, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Putting Understanding by Design into Practice Northern Ohio Professional Development February 7, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Putting Understanding by Design into Practice Northern Ohio Professional Development February 7, 2014

2 Understanding by Design (UbD) Basics * Start with the end in mind (essential questions, student goals /I-Cans, standards/benchmarks) * Figure out what tasks/evidence can show that students have understood the concepts * Create your lesson plans/maps See the Backwards Design Process and Appendix A—UbD in a Nutshell pages in the handout for more information

3 Part I: Giant Steps—ELA Curriculum Team Workshop, June 2013 After learning some basics about UbD and participating in discussions/activities dealing with the material, we each began working on one unit from a course we would be teaching. Since I was beginning a new grade level, I started with one of the unit templates for 10 th Grade English II—originally titled “Unit 4—A Troubled Young Nation”, written as a 6-week unit based on the essential question “How do we decide who is included as an American?”

4 Part I: Giant Steps, continued After reviewing the original standards/ benchmarks, essential question, suggested activities, and suggested material, I started with the understanding I wanted students to come away with: Big Ideas, Significant Concepts, and Objectives. What did I want the “Enduring Understanding” to be for the students—the big picture, the general themes, the universal lesson that could stay with them through multiple years/classes/curricular areas?

5 Part I: Giant Steps In the template, I listed under Big Ideas : Freedom, Democracy, Acceptance, Fairness, and Systems Under Significant Concepts I included: Point of view, Voices of the Oppressed, and Fighting for Freedom Under Objectives, I included: Explore the concept of freedom, Explore the idea of systems vs. individuals This led me to the general statement of Enduring Understanding : Regardless of what the law says, if you don’t believe you are free, it doesn’t matter.

6 Part I: Giant Steps These first steps led me to a revised unit title and essential question. Title: “The Balance of Freedom and Oppression” Essential Question: How do we know we are free? Now that I had a focus, I reviewed the suggested content, narrowed it down, added some of my own ideas, and then re-checked the CCSS Standards for the unit to help guide my activities/assessments.

7 Part I: Giant Steps Now I was ready to apply the focus of the essential question to specific student skills through assessments and activities. Using the Unit Requirements as a guideline, here are some examples of activities I plan to use: Structured Discussion: A Seminar focused on reactions to Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” Oral Presentations: Create a choral reading of “The Gettysburg Address”

8 Part I: Giant Steps Short Writing Assignments: Letter writing activity to the President about a restricted freedom, crafting an “un-dialected” version of a Sojourner Truth passage, creating an original dictionary entry for “freedom” 21 st Century Skills: Find a credible online article about one of the historic figures in the unit and cite it correctly Non-print Texts: Listen to negro spirituals from the period and discuss lyrics/tone, view examples art depicting plantation life and journal about them, view Civil War photography and write a reaction

9 Part II: Baby Steps—Working the Concepts into Your Unit Design Now Realistically, we are mid-year and have existing curriculum. Here are some ways you can work it in: Integrate visual texts/artwork. There are unlimited resources online, and it is an easy way to open a discussion, kick off a paper, or react in a journal Choose one strategy and work it into your current curriculum. For example, in Unit 1, I tried out Socratic Seminars with a Puritan sermon and The Crucible. In Unit 3, I am focusing on Close Reads and text-dependent questions.

10 Part II: Baby Steps—Working the Concepts into Your Unit Design Now Use your district assessment data. In the 1 st EOC, I saw that delineating arguments and recognizing the function of a part of a document to the whole were weak points for my students. In Unit 2, I focused on these skills while covering historical documents like the Declaration of Independence. Starting small will help make it less stressful for you, and you can try out a new strategy with existing content.

11 Part III: Insights and Obstacles + Gathering in Chicago was inspiring and built enthusiasm. It also provided 2 valuable resources: uninterrupted time and access to wonderful resources—colleagues from across the system. + I was starting from scratch with a new class and grade level—I had no emotional attachment to previous content/curriculum, so I was willing to try and to discard ideas.

12 Part III: Insights and Obstacles - Realistically, I no longer have uninterrupted blocks of time and am at a new school where there is not the support of a department with whom to discuss ideas. - Everything is trial and error. My plans/ideas and pacing do not always match, and there are so many limitations on our time in class due to testing, days off for weather this winter, etc.

13 Part III: Insights and Obstacles What is the benefit? Why is it worth the effort? I know that I am a better teacher when I plan with purpose and an end goal in mind—this helps me focus on the big picture of what I want my students to take away from a unit. One of my biggest concerns for high school students is their ability to independently demonstrate the knowledge and skills they will need at college or work, and this helps me plan activities with that idea in mind.

14 Part III: Insights and Obstacles “…the first question for curriculum writers is not: What will we teach and when should we teach it? Rather the initial question for curriculum development must be goal focused: Having learned key content, what will students be able to do with it?” “The ultimate aim of a curriculum is independent transfer; i.e., for students to be able to employ their learning, autonomously and thoughtfully, to varied complex situations, inside and outside of school. Lacking the capacity to independently apply their learning, a student will be neither college nor workplace ready.” From: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/common-core-map-backwards-jay- mctighe-grant-wiggins

15 Questions/Discussion? Thank you for allowing me to share some of my experiences with you!


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